Tag Archives: Space

Scattered Learning

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted – we’ve been to stay at my parents’ in Nottingham for a week and pootled about doing all sorts since then.  We don’t seem to have anything ‘long-term’ on the go at the moment, which I kind of miss.  But the girls seem happy to be dipping their toes in and out of all sorts…

D has been doing lots of dot to dots in an ancient Usborne book of ours.  She’s really getting to grips with reading larger numbers and she looks for them everywhere – on buses, computer games… everywhere!  The other week in the car she asked what a googol looked like so as we had a spare minute before art class I looked it up and we all learnt that it has 100 zeros!  Who knew?!


She’s also been busy on Teach Your Monster to Read and is now confidently reading sentences out with a look of pride on her face. 🙂

We’ve been doing a bit of science too!  The girls loved doing this density tower, and were running around trying to find different objects to throw in and guess how far down they would sink!  It looks a bit of a murky mess, but it still worked. 🙂


We read How the World Works and the girls showed an interest in the little book inside that shows the continental drift.  As luck would have it, The Kid Should See This had a video on the man who discovered and named the pangea: Alfred Wegener, and we watched it together.  This led to watching a video on snow circles, an acorn and the far side of the moon!  I LOVE that website.

We were all excited to see THREE planets in the sky at once the other night: we saw Jupiter, Uranus and Mars.  We couldn’t quite make out Venus as it was overlapping Mars and we then forgot to go out again later after they had moved apart but it was great all the same.

The girls’ love of Peter Pan has resurfaced!  I downloaded a free Kindle copy of Peter and Wendy which I’ve been reading to the girls while they busy themselves with colouring or Minecraft. I’ve never read the original before and it’s actually quite an easy read and as the girls know the story inside out they are keeping up very well, with just the odd question about a big word or an old-fashioned phrase here and there.

This had led to watching the films (I think we have all of the Peter Pan related ones) and various Tinker Bell films too.  There may be a project on the horizon as both girls have expressed an interest in making a fairy house like Lizzie’s in The Great Fairy Rescue.

M has continued to do her coding on the wonderful Khan Academy.  She is still playing around with shapes: it’s SO mathematical and she’s managing and learning really well.  In a few weeks I may gently nudge her forwards a bit but first I need to learn it myself!

This week, M and D have spent a lot of time in their Rapunzel princess dresses, which led to them both wanting to make crowns, a sceptre and an orb.  We’ve done the sceptres (painted wrapping paper tubes) but haven’t got around to making orbs yet – hence the balloons in the picture!  This led to us watching Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation which was pronounced ‘too slow’ by M.  We then did our own coronation, and M was in fits of giggles as I pretended to be an old codger shuffling forwards with the crowns…

D was telling J about it all the next morning and reassured him that it was ok as her coronation was just pretend and the Queen is still alive.

Morris was intrigued by the rustley dresses and kept photo-bombing the coronation pictures.


And lastly, some paintings by M!

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Happy Sausages

We’ve had such a varied and happy week!  I feel so proud of their attitude to learning, to each other, and to our general family life.  Part of me wants to march back to their old schools and stick two fingers up to their old headmistresses, ha!

We’re still battling the nits unfortunately.  M managed to pass them on to me and I unwittingly passed them back to M again!  Who knew that nits don’t always make you itch?  I didn’t!  I’m all clear again but I’m still having to regularly comb through M’s hair.  It has meant that she missed out on a sleep over at a friend’s house (his Mum didn’t want to risk it just before school starts, fair enough) and an HE meet up.  So we’ve pretty much been in quarantine ALL week.  And it’s been lovely!  The girls have been engaged, occupied, laughing and learning.  I would have expected cabin fever to kick in by now but it hasn’t.

During one nit session, D was marching up and down chanting the 10 times table!  She’s really getting a grasp of numbers and how to manipulate them.  It’s amazing to see, especially as it’s mostly mental arithmetic at the moment.  She will just go quiet for a while and then say ‘Mum, did you know that 3 lots of 4 is 12 and 2 lots of 6 is 12 too?’  So this week she’s just starting to get a handle on multiplication.  I downloaded a Numberjacks Times Tables app which she loves.  Minecraft is really helping too – lots of blocks placed on blocks so she begins to see patterns: she said “so 3 lots of 3 are 9?” after a making a square window!


She is also soaking up knowledge through Netflix – it is incredible what she has absorbed from watching Go Diego Go: she keeps spotting animals and saying “hey, that’s a red eyed tree frog!”.  The other day we were reading a book with a parrot in it and she said “that’s not a parrot it’s a scarlet macaw”.  I’m just waiting for her to start speaking Spanish now…  We started watching The Magic School Bus today, which is fantastic too and right up D’s street: the children in the story travel into space, into someone’s digestive system, under water etc etc.  Even M was pulled into watching it.

For D’s Love Bombing day she chose to do have a space themed day but today she decided she couldn’t wait for her special day and she wanted to do the activities now!  I had two prepared already.  The first is this book, Older Than the Stars – it is fabulous!  As you go through it, you learn how all the particles that were present at the big bang are part of us now.  M really enjoyed listening to it too.  We had a great conversation about death afterwards (no, really).

The other space activity I got out for D was this constellation geoboard.  I didn’t have time to print the constellation sheet off so we just started on our own.  She loved it!  Here you can see she’s made Taurus, The Big Dipper and Polaris, Orion and the Sun using pins and rubber bands!


After D had finished we went straight off to her new swimming lessons, which she was initially scared about but was ecstatic after the lesson because her teacher had chanted her name while she swam :).

Now for M, who has been going from strength to strength this week.  She’s had to battle with nits for starters – highly frustrating and boring but she’s managing really well and is beginning to understand the importance of regular combing (she doesn’t seem to mind the itching and didn’t really grasp why we had to get rid of them!).

The biggest thing in my mind this week is to do with a book about pet rabbits that she borrowed from the library.  She tried on two separate occasions to read it and each time struggled with the words and got too angry to continue.  I was amazed that she even tried twice.  I was astounded when she picked it up a third time!  This has NEVER happened before.  I sat and offered to help her read it and both girls were rapt the entire time.  You can see where this is leading… M has now made a lovely list of the type of rabbit she’d like and what we’d have to buy to keep one.  There is a strong possibility that we will be getting pet rabbits.  I made sure to praise M afterwards for overcoming her anger at the book and she beamed at me :).

The other rather large story for M this week is that she now knows the truth about Santa.  One morning she asked me “why are all the Christmas presents from everyone we know and not from Santa?”.  I told her it was a long answer and that I’d talk to her about it later.  Meanwhile, I rushed off to consult like-minded people on Facebook.  Little did I know it would spark a thread that went on and on and on… Anyway, I gleaned some good ideas from it and had a little chat with her about it.  To be honest, I’ve never wanted to do the Santa thing but when M was 2 or 3 she insisted that he was real even when I said I didn’t believe in him.  Tsk.  So I probed further with M about her thoughts on Santa and she guessed herself that he wasn’t real, she didn’t even seem too bothered.  A great big cheeky smile appeared on her face when I told her I bought the presents and hid them around the house… wonder what she is planning…

In other news, I have been spending a lot of time with M creating food cans for Sylvanian Families,  Good God it’s fiddly but we’re getting there…



M’s also been setting up obstacle races for D…



And playing dominoes…


Making a floating island in Minecraft and playing on an Escher inspired app called Monument Valley.  M has solved all the puzzles and finished the game in a day!


What, I think, has helped the most in our family life this week is that we’ve had a re-jig of our structure.  Not that we really had much structure, but I realised after 4 nights of D not being able to go to sleep that she really needed a later bedtime. However, this also meant that M would miss out on her special evening time with me because they’d be going up at the same time, and D would miss her morning special time because she’d be getting up later.  So we’ve now arranged it so that they both have an hour to spend just with me each day, doing whatever they want.  D doesn’t seem too fussed about special time, probably because she is more vocal when she needs attention than M, and also because she’s younger so is used to sharing me anyway.  However, M is really thriving on it.  She beams whenever I mention it and I think it’s also helping her anger.  So perhaps lack of attention was the problem all along…

Pottery, Leeds Castle and a Pyjama Day

Grandma is here again!  I had two very excited sausages awaiting her arrival at St Pancras station on Monday.


Then we headed off to pottery in Clapham and M got to take home her first pinch pot.


On Tuesday I had organised a day out for us at Leeds Castle. The four of us got in for £12!  £12!!  Ahh, the wonders of home ed never cease!  It was a wonderful day out: we had a long (for us) walk through the grounds; a walk inside the castle; a play in the playground; we watched a falconry display; got lost in a maze; had a ride on a boat across the lake and finished off with a ride on the castle train.

M was given responsibility of taking the photos: ‘looking at things’ is one of her worst activities on days out so taking photos kept her engaged for the day :).  She took over 100.. here are just a few…

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And a few of mine..

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All in all, we had a great day out and I can highly recommend it if you can get there.

Today the girls were tired and tetchy so it was a good job we had no plans and settled for a much-needed pyjama day.  It was still rather busy though.  The sausages began by showing Grandma how to make a loom bracelet, and then D finished off her space lapbook!  It was a culmination of hours and hours of work, but I’m not sure ‘work’ is the right word for it as she enjoyed it so much.


I wanted to get on with a bit of DIY while I had the chance today and M soon wanted to get involved so I let her finish off filling the holes on the stairs with wood filler – she absolutely loved it and I wish I’d given her the whole job to do as she really was good at it!


Then Grandma played ‘teacher’ and helped them with their Africa lapbooks (M doesn’t want to do it with me anymore so I think this is going to be an on-going project with Grandma).  While this was going on I was painting the floor of our landing and stairs – a seemingly endless job as I can only do one coat a day!

The rest of the day was spent with M playing Lego Harry Potter on Grandma’s iPad and D playing a very imaginative game of Cinderella with Grandma.

Grandma is going home tomorrow (much to Granddad’s relief, I’m sure) so I will have to figure out what to do to keep the sausages occupied to take their minds of their misery…

All Sorts

I’ve been struggling to write a post this week as we’ve been so busy I’ve been wondering what I can write about without it reading like a list.  So, apologies but here’s a list of what we’ve been up to!

There has been a lot of playing outside – the girls are getting so strong!  M even has callouses on her palms from the monkey bars.


They enjoyed another pottery class this week – their work is still in progress so no pictures yet!  After pottery they really wanted to explore the church yard and communal gardens next door and I had a hard time dragging them away!


D has been enjoying playing with Junior Scrabble…


And doing a bit more work on her space lapbook (nearly finished!)


And she wrote a great story which you can read here – Ariel and Snow White.

Yesterday, the sausages had a ballet taster session.  D has had nostalgic memories of the ballet class she went to when she was 3.  As might be expected, the reality of it wasn’t as good!  M loved it though – especially because it means she gets to spend time with her best friend who also goes.

The girls have been spending quite a bit of time on their Father’s day cards.  Well, D’s was finished in 2 minutes flat,whereas M has been working on hers for about 2 hours and is only half done.  It’s going very well and there have been NO flops which is utterly remarkable!


While M was busy with her card, I entertained D with a few explosive science experiments – she was squealing with delight!  Big thanks to Lisa over at An Ordinary Life for the inspiration!  We made a lava lamp, followed by a ‘volcano’ and finished off with the Diet Coke and Mentos favourite.  M was joining in by the end, and now I need to buy more vinegar!

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Today we’ve been reading together, to ourselves and to each other; making bracelets with loom bands, gardening, card games, workbooks and a 2.5 hour swimming session!


Ah yes… and dressing up in togas…






Contrasting Days

The last two days couldn’t be more different: yesterday was decidedly lack-lustre and none of us could galvanise ourselves to do much.  Although saying that, we did have a trip to Tesco’s to get our holiday money, during which we managed to fit in a trip to the coffee shop…


And then I discovered we had to return a load of books to the library so we had a trip to Wimbledon after lunch.  The devil had got inside D by this point and she was swinging/running/hiding all over the place and not really heeding my advice, resulting in the librarian telling her off (though in a kindly way), which she was quite miffed about.

Things picked up a little when we got back, we got the Spain lapbooks out with the intention of finishing them before our holiday, however D was really not in the mood and was squiggling rather than writing.  M spent about half an hour on hers and we watched bullfighting and running of the bulls videos on YouTube.

After a bit of telly, and while I was cooking dinner, they both decided to play with the craft sticks I bought recently:


We tried to make a lolly stick chain reaction but this didn’t work so I Googled lolly stick crafts and found a lovely house to build which M immediately wanted to make.  She’s stuck at it for hours over yesterday and today. We’ve got quite a bit more to do but here’s what we’ve done so far:


Today has been much much busier! J was at home in the morning getting a last bit of wallpaper stripping done before the plasterers arrive next week.


And the girls were insistent upon a pyjama day, although I really don’t know why this holds the allure it still does now we’re home educating – it in no way means they are sitting around doing nothing!

M continued with her lolly stick house and also spent hours making an igloo out of sugar cubes and a cement mixture (made with egg whites and icing sugar):

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D also had a go with the sugar cubes but wasn’t all that interested.  However she loved continuing her writing on planets for her space lapbook.  Her space knowledge has gone up a notch: she is now making comments about ‘grabbity’ that show her level of understanding has increased (i.e. that Jupiter has higher gravity because it is larger) and was asking me intelligent questions about tides today (thank goodness for my moons course otherwise I wouldn’t have known how to answer!).


They both had a play outside in the sunshine and ate their dinner under the climbing frame:

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They were still outside at 5.30pm, weeding their plots in their pyjamas and slippers!


Mucus, Gloop and Other Activities

A quick post with a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to over the last few days with Aunty S…

The girls have been absolutely full of cold for quite a few days now and this was cause for D to get her body book out so she could tell Daddy all about mucus…


M has enjoyed playing with gloop…


We had a visit to Wimbledon Common…


M has spent a lot of time making plaster models by pushing toys into clay to make a mold then covering the clay with plaster of paris.  She has tried a dinosaur, a fairy and shells.  D pushed some bouncy balls into hers to make Mars and Jupiter.

M wanted to make up her own recipe so I put all our baking ingredients onto the kitchen table and let her loose.  I didn’t get a picture of the end result but I think she would agree it was pretty revolting!  D got straight to the point and made ‘chocolate soup’: it was made and drunk in minutes.

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The glue gun arrived!  We used it to finish off D’s rocket…


The girls, M in particular are struggling quite a lot with their heavy colds but we’ve managed to have a really lovely, laid back time with Aunty S.

Moons and Newspaper Toys

I started my OU Future Learn course on Moons today!  I managed to get a solid hour in before the girls’ distractions (tablet and TV) wore off.  It’s a fascinating course but I can feel my old ‘school’ feelings rising to the suface: panic that I won’t be able to do it, and irritation with people who are smarter than me, haha.  Thanks to D, I know a fair bit about moons already but I’m loving the chance to learn more.

We’ve had a nicely paced, happy couple of days: yesterday we spent 3 hours in Wimbledon, buying holiday clothes, sandals and a trip to the library.  I think we could actually spend hours in there and not get bored.  M scours the shelves looking for books to read and D asks me to read armfuls of space books.  I found a kitchen science book that explains how to build with ‘bricks and mortar’ using sugar cubes and an egg white mixture.  M looked so thrilled with the idea she gave me a big hug! I think I might have found another of M’s passions: construction!

In the afternoon, m carried on creating spin art on our Snap Circuits toy.  M also made some cheese straws but she didn’t like them which means I’ll be forced to eat them up.  I made a geodesic dome for D and she has been watching telly in it ever since.  Then D did some more writing for her space lapbook while I made thaumatrope toys for them both.  I was explaining persistence of vision to M and wanted to show how eyes can play tricks on the brain: she was genuinely interested… for about a minute…

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I’ve left the toys on our new bookcase in the lounge so they can pick it up again if they want to.

At the crack of dawn this morning they both decided they wanted to make a rocket!  Well, it was 8am but it felt very early for such activities.  The boosters have been painted and the shuttle covered in foil but we’re awaiting the delivery of a glue gun to finish the project off.  A glue gun!  All I need now is a laminator and I will feel like an official home educator.


Then they both got into pirate mode again and made treasure maps, spy glasses and paper hats.  We’re getting through A LOT of newspaper lately.  Just before it was time to go swimming they both got absorbed in drawing pictures for each other.  Sometimes it really feels like a shame to go out when there’s so much to do indoors.  I know M already feels like there are not enough hours in the day to do all the activities she wants to do!

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As for me, I’ve got a list as long as my arm of jobs I need to get done before our holiday in 2 weeks so I’m going to sign off and get back to my moon studies!